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Happy Labor Day: The Link between Overtime and Eye Strain

Happy labor day to all the amazing workers who give their best in every job they perform. It’s a day to celebrate the workers, have fun, visit parades, and generally have the last summer hurrah before the school year begins again. But while we’re having fun and celebrating the strong workforce of this nation, let’s shine the spotlight on something important that affects the workforce: the eyes. 

Working is important. But most people who overwork often spend long hours in front of a computer. While it’s nice to put in a lot of effort and time into work, the eyes deserve some rest as well. Long hours of work without resting the eyes can lead to eyestrain.

What is Eye Strain? 

Eye Strain is not an eye condition like myopia or astigmatism, although it can be a symptom of the two. It is, however, a collective name for the symptoms people experience when they overwork their eyes. 

Eye Strain usually occurs when people spend a long time working with their eyes. It could be from driving, reading or using the computer. It has no long-term effects, but it can be uncomfortable, especially if the person has a pre-existing eye condition. 

However, short-term eye strain can cause some unpleasant feelings. Some of the symptoms of eye strain include; 

  • Fatigue 
  • Gritty, dry, burning, or itchy eyes 
  • Headache 
  • Inability to concentrate on work 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Diluted or reduced quality of work 
  • Muscle soreness in shoulder and neck 
  • Increased chances of error
  • Increased sensitivity to light 
  • Difficulty keeping eyes open 

Extended Use of the Computer and Eye Strain 

While other working conditions such as driving can lead to eye strain, the commonest cause of work-induced eye strain is the computer. Eye Strain caused by the prolonged use of computers or other digital devices is known as computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. 

Computer screens easily cause eye strain because when people use their computers or digital devices, they stay at less than ideal distances from the screen. They also expose their eyes to the reflection or glare from the screen. In addition to these reasons, some devices have low contrast between the text and background, causing users to strain their eyes. 

How to Reduce Eye Strain 

How can you reduce digital eye strain? You can reduce eye strain by doing a few things:

  • Keep a good distance between the device and eye 

Very few people know how to use the computer while maintaining a healthy eye distance. In the workplace, most workers tend to hunch forward towards their monitors while working. The proper distance, however, is an arms-length with your palm resting on the screen. 

  • Reduce glare or reflection

These days, it’s pretty easy to avoid the effects of glare or reflection from a computer screen. You can either get an anti-glare lens or reduce the brightness of the screen. 

  • Improve contrast 

In the workplace, the lights are on, and everywhere is bright. The brightness of the surrounding environment does not contrast with the computer screen properly. This causes users to lean forward and strain their eyes. 

While you can't do anything about the brightness of your surroundings, you can adjust your screen color to improve the contrast. Alternatively, ask for permission to dim the surrounding lights.

Other precautions to take include: 

  • Increasing font size
  • Using the 20-20-20 rule 
  • Blinking often 

Workers spend a lot of time making themselves vulnerable to eye strain. Working overtime and spending hours looking at a screen can strain the eyes and cause other complications. Hence it is important to follow through with these precautions.

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